Cape Town - Suspected underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack says he is an ordinary businessman who, given the regard he is held in by his community, receives information which can be used by police in combating crime.
The Cape Town Magistrate's Court heard this on Monday when an affidavit by Modack was read out during a bail application in an extortion and intimidation case in which he is the main accused.
In the affidavit, Modack denied the charges he faces and addressed several allegations made against him so far.
During the application, it was claimed that Modack was in contact with high-ranking police officers.
But he responded in the affidavit: "The State has made much of the fact that I am well connected with senior policemen whom they suggest are corrupt," Modack said.
"I deny this allegation and point out that I have had as much contact with the members of the group of policemen who arranged my arrest and are opposing my release on bail."
'I often receive info which police can use'
Modack went on to say: "Because of the regard in which I am held by most of my community, I often receive information which can be used by police."
He said he had always been available to police officers and had cooperated with them "in the combatting of crime".
Modack named some of the officers, including Major General Jeremy Vearey, the head of the Cape Town cluster of police, as well as Sergeant Edward Edwardes, who was investigating certain aspects surrounding the club security matter.
He denied recent murder plot claims made in the court, which included that he planned to have Vearey, investigating officer in the extortion case Charl Kinnear, and prosecutor Esna Erasmus, killed.
'I am an ordinary businessman'
"I vehemently deny these allegations and point out that I have been held in communicando in custody since December 15, 2017 (sic)," Modack said.
"I have had no contact with anyone with whom to conspire. I am an ordinary businessman and not in a position to arrange a murder or, for that matter, any other crime. The very idea is preposterous.”
Modack is accused of extortion and intimidation in Cape Town. He and fellow accused Jacques Cronje also face extortion charges in Johannesburg.
Modack’s co-accused in the Cape Town matter are Carl Lakay, Ashley Fields, Colin Booysen - the brother of alleged Sexy Boys gang leader Jerome Booysen - and Cronje.
They face charges relating to the nightclub security industry in that they allegedly took over security operations at clubs and restaurants, forcing owners to pay them.
The group was arrested on December 15 and lodged a bail application shortly afterwards.
For a detailed breakdown on what has been happening in the underworld nightclub security takeover, see News24's showcase Underworld Unmasked
Modack, in his affidavit read out in court on Monday, said he had lived in Plattekloof since 2007.
He shared this home with his wife who he was "very happily" married to.
"We have been married for five years and intend to start our own family soon," Modack said.
He described his wife as a businesswoman involved in women’s beauty aids and treatments.
Her assets were valued at around R4m
'Security to the vulnerable' and car sales agent
Modack said he provided security to "vulnerable persons" as well corporate security and corporate events.
"This does not as a rule include providing security guards at places of entertainment," he said.
Modack also did business as a motor vehicle sales agent.
"I am not a motor vehicle salesman, I bring together people who seek a particular motor vehicle with persons who wish to sell a motor vehicle of that particular kind," Modack said.
He earned a commission on these sales and was "good" at what he did, earning between R80 000 and R100 000 a month.
Modack said he was responsible for the upkeep of his mother, maternal grandmother, father and stepmother.
'Humiliating' debt matter
"Some years ago, I signed as surety for the debts of my father's business entities," he said.
"They went into liquidation and the sureties were called up, placing me in the position of being unable to pay, which I found deeply humiliating."
Modack's estate was sequestrated and he lost all valuable assets in it. He said he remained an "unrehabilitated insolvent".
He hoped to change this.
Modack said in terms of the State's case, Kinnear, while testifying under cross-examination, had conceded that he did not have evidence indicating that Modack, or any of the other accused, "uttered any direct threat" to two complainants in the matter.
'The State hasn't made a case'
"I respectfully submit that the State has not shown that it can make out a case or cases against me and this should play a decisive role in deciding whether or not I should be released on bail," he said.
"Col Kinnear was at pains to raise several red herrings concerning other matters in which I am alleged to be involved."
These, Modack said, were unrelated matters and he, therefore, did not have to deal with them.
He said there was no reason why he should not be granted bail, saying it would be in the interests of justice.
On Monday, the legal representatives of all five accused in the case read out affidavits of their clients.
The bail application is expected to resume on Wednesday.